Photo Cred: Dwayne Franklin

Who’s name is a name you all should know? Elijah Shaw. Simply put. Elijah Shaw is one of the greatest security officers to the stars. Not only does he provide protection for some of our favorite celebrities, he also helps to empower the young. The children are our future right?

Elijah Shaw grew up in a Chicago housing project known as Ida B Wells which is known as a pretty tough place to grow up in. He was determined to make it out, but more importantly make a difference. He went on to attend Columbia University for film which is where he first found an interest in security work. Elijah began to do security work to support himself through school when he realized that he wanted to turn it into a career. He started in what can be known as the “mail room” in his career but he made sure he stuck with his dream. During the interview, he said he worked every job possible in the security field to get established.

But 1998 is when he got his big break. He was able to start ICON GLOBAL which is an executive protection firm that works with clients domestically and internationally providing protection to corporate executives and celebrities; which is what he is known for. Elijah also teaches others how to protect themselves. People come from all over the world, including South Africa to train with Elijah because he is the best. He has also been involved in taking clients out of very dangerous places such as Angola as well as the Ferguson Riots. With his protection firm, Elijah has been able to travel all over the world, 5 times to be exact. He has a full roster of clients which not only include celebrities but Fortune 500 Companies and politicians.

Since creating his own company and protecting celebrities, Elijah has developed a way to give back to the youth. With his program Life Up There, he takes photographs and sells them. With the money made from the pictures, he buys cameras to give to the inner city youth. This idea came about as a simple hobby. When others started to inquire about the photos and wanting to buy them, he thought why not use that money for something greater. By providing these cameras to the youth, he’s not only investing in their future but also giving them an escape from reality by creating something beautiful. He wants to inspire the youth to be creative and reach outside of their boundaries to do something positive.

Being a bodyguard for stars can be a very demanding job that most might not be able to handle. When asked if being in protective services affected his personal relationships; with being away for long periods of time, he replied yes. “It definitely makes personal relationships tough.” He says. Because he travels about 70 percent of the year spending about 50 percent of that internationally, he considers it to be “normal” being gone so long. Working in the protective service field for over 20 plus years, he is used to being gone for long periods of time. But he often has to stop and remember that to others, that type of lifestyle may not be “normal” He said, “So if people are used to conversations every day or seeing someone every day, that’s difficult if you’re interacting with me, friends, family, or whatever. So it definitely requires a unique individual and an understanding individual to be able to understand how my lifestyle kind of works.”

After speaking with Elijah, he definitely seems like that type of unique individual. He’s invested a lot of time and effort into making his dreams come true. But what makes him different from others is that he didn’t forget where he came from. Check out his website www.lifeupthere.com where you too can help inner city youth by purchasing some of Elijah’s photos. All of the proceeds go to buying cameras for the youth. Also check out is his company #ICON GLOBAL www.industry-icon.com and his blog if you want to know about the “behind the scene” work of a bodyguard. www.bodyguardblog.com

Photo Cred: Dwayne Franklin

ICON Academy Executive Protection Training

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